City council moves forward with water project

The Italy City Council moved forward with the issuance of Certificates of Obligation for a water project bond at a called meeting Monday evening.

Dean Carrell, water superintendent, showed a short video that explains much of the water problems the city has experienced throughout the years.

He sent a camera down one of the wells to approximately 850’. The video indicated that the screens are severely clogged thus preventing water from filling the wells, which, in turn, causes pump motors to burn up.

Carrell said in the past, the city simply replaced a pump when it went out. He said he wanted to find out why the pumps kept going out and that is why he spent the extra money to get a camera down the well.

He said a clay silt material is clogging the screens. Plans are to blast the well and then vacuum out the silt. 

There were questions and negative comments from three residents.

Joan Grabowski asked what the city would do about citizens on fixed incomes.

Mayor Frank Jackson said, “If we don’t fix the water problem, there won’t be water for anyone. People expect to have water so we must do something.”

Grabowski asked if there were not state or federal programs available to help people with water bills.

Jackson said he was not aware of those types of programs but stressed that the city “is at the critical stage.”

Carrell said this water project is for production, control and volume. He noted that this project has nothing to do with water line replacement.

He added that the city has applied for a community development grant for $334,000 to replace some of the city water lines. He noted that the city applies for these types of grants annually.

The mayor said this water project will increase water storage from 250,000 gallons of water to one million gallons.

Margie Castro said she has lived here nine years and still cannot drink the water. She asked why the city was focusing on a community center when they had water issues.

Carrell explained that Economic Development funds come from taxes and that EDC and water funds cannot be intermingled.

Roger Jackson asked how long this proposed “fix” would last.

Scott Hoelzle, KSA engineer for the city,” explained that the ground storage tank should service the city for 30-40 years.

Jackson (Roger) asked how much the water bill would increase and how soon citizens would see the water bill increase.

Teri Murdock, city secretary/administrator, said the bills would increase from $24-$26 per month. She said they would add this increase to water bills once the project is funded.

The mayor said he has faith in his department heads. “I am with them every day. They work their behinds off every day.” He continued, “This isn’t something we want to do. I understand, believe me; I’m on a fixed income too.”

Jackson (Roger) said, “I know this is a problem that needs to be fixed and we are going to hold you to it.”

Following the vote, which passed unanimously, Greg Richards, council member, said the council does not want to see the water bill increase but said they do not have a choice. “We have to do what’s best for the city. Bear with us as we try to make things right for everybody.”

Prior to adjournment, the mayor said the council will replace the council seat vacated by Mark Souder Sr. at the next regular council meeting.